Compared to old-fashioned high street banks, modern fintech brands like Revolut can save you a LOT of money when traveling.
Mainly through reduced foreign exchange fees when converting currencies.
But with more and more of these cards now on offer, the question is which one do you choose?
Well, today we will focus on one of the best... Revolut.
We’ve been using Revolut since 2016 when we went backpacking around South America and we’re still using them today.
In fact, I am a personal paid member of their Ultra plan and we are a part of the Grow plan for Revolut Business.
Meaning I now trust them for both our business and personal finances on a daily basis.
Which kind of says it all really!
This guide is going to go through the features that Revolut offers.
Giving an overview of the different plans, as well as the pros and cons of using Revolut.
And ultimately, why we love them so much!
Let’s get started…
Revolut is a British financial technology company that was founded in the United Kingdom by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko.
The company has been around since 2015 and has gained a fantastic reputation over the years.
With over 25+ million users and 500K business users, Revolut is an extremely popular option when it comes to banking and travel cards.
Their aim is to grow the global economy by providing access to financial products for everyone, and this shows as their services are supported in over 200 countries and regions!
Revolut is estimated to be valued at £27 billion so they’ve come a long way since 2016 when they had only reached 100,000 customers (2 of which were us!).
There are plenty of banks in today’s society and these differ depending on which country you’re from.
Although Revolut can be used as your main bank account and offers many of the same features - the company doesn’t refer to itself as a ‘traditional bank’.
So how does Revolut work?
Well, they operate as more of a financial technology company or an electronic money institution. They’re authorized to handle your money and facilitate currency exchanges among other services.
However, Revolut doesn’t offer certain financial services such as an FSCS deposit guarantee, and they can’t handle cash or cheques.
This company does have an EU banking license, and your money is protected the same as it would be anywhere else.
Because of e-money regulations, platforms like Revolut need to have intense safeguarding and security procedures. All card transactions are processed by Visa or Mastercard too, so they’re protected by the same rules.
Just because this platform isn’t considered a ‘traditional bank’, it doesn’t mean that it’s not secure!
In fact, Revolut not being a traditional bank means they can offer a variety of unique features that you won’t find anywhere else.
This includes impressive features like virtual cards, unlimited foreign exchange, cashback on specific purchases, and cryptocurrency trading (which I have also personally used).
They’re constantly investing in new products and services to help you make the most of your money, whether that be helping you invest or planning for your future.
Although you can use Revolut the same as you would normal debit cards, this platform has so much more to offer.
Compared to traditional bank accounts and other platforms, Revolut can save you a lot of money.
This is especially the case if you travel abroad a lot, or you need to send or receive payments from other countries.
If I were to go into every way Revolut can save you money, I’d be here all day so I’m just going to discuss the key points.
If you go for a Revolut travel card then you’ll benefit from so many awesome features that will save you money along the way.
Let’s take a look at some of the main ones…
This is one of the most important things to think about when choosing a travel card because it’s something that everyone tends to do.
We’ve all been there when you’ve planned a specific budget for a trip, and you go over it. That unfortunately means you have to withdraw money whilst abroad and this can be expensive.
If you’re not careful, ATM withdrawals can cost you a lot in fees, especially in some of the popular Asian countries like Thailand.
Revolut allows you to withdraw up to £200 per month from ATMs without fees, which is super handy. If you opt for one of their paid plans, you can withdraw up to £2,000 a month (this amount is with the Ultra Plan, which is what we have).
Revolut offers one of the best exchange rates around which is why they’re one of the most popular options for travel cards.
In fact, they’ve got a currency converter where you can check the real exchange rate at that moment in time. This converter works for over 30 currencies, and it’s a great way to get the most out of your money.
Unfortunately, market exchange rates are changing all the time, especially in today’s climate.
Having a Revolut account means you can keep an eye on these rates and change your money when you’ll get the most for it (if you’re in a position to do so).
This is one of the things that makes Revolut stand out from other travel cards! Just keep in mind that a markup is added to exchange rates on weekends.
This one may be more tailored towards digital nomads or those that are self-employed but it’s an important thing to talk about!
If you’re going to receive large foreign payments then you need to invest in a travel card that helps you save on exchange fees. Luckily, Revolut can do just that.
Before we started to use Revolut, we used PayPal and I think we lost around 8-10% of the GBP value of our payments due to their fees. This is crazy and daylight robbery if you ask me!
We then started using Wise, but have now found that our Revolut Business account offers the best exchange rate and low fees when it comes to foreign currencies.
P.S if you haven't heard of Wise, it could be a useful Revolut alternative depending on your needs. For more info, check out our Wise vs Revolut guide.
One of the main things to consider when choosing a travel card is the transfer fees!
The Revolut card is known for having low transfer fees, especially compared to traditional bank accounts and other platforms such as Paypal.
If you need to send money to other countries in Europe then you won’t encounter any fees. However, there will be a fee on every international transfer unless you opt for a paid Revolut business account.
This fee is often fixed, which makes it much better than a variable transfer fee, which is what many other banks offer. The problem with variable transfer fees is that they are changing all the time based on market fluctuations.
Here are some other features that Revolut offers:
Although Revolut has a fantastic free plan, they also offer a variety of paid plans. Some features are only accessible on a paid account, and these include:
If you’re interested in some of these features, then let’s take a look at the different plans available…
There are a variety of plans to choose from with Revolut, and I’d be here all day if I were to go through every single one. Instead, I’ve dropped a screenshot of the plans below to outline the key differences!
To give you a more in-depth idea of the differences, let’s take a look at some of their paid plans so you can see what features are on offer.
For this comparison, let’s take a look at the Premium lan, Metal Plan, and Ultra Plan…
Aside from the standard benefits, there are some excellent features that you’ll get if you go for a Revolut premium account:
If you opt for this plan, you’ll get some extra benefits including:
This is the newest plan offering from Revolut, and is the one that I am now a member of!
But at £55, sounds like a lot of money each month, right?
Well, yes and no...
The bonuses of using Revolut Ultra, include:
For me, it was a simple maths equation; I wanted to buy a unlimited Priority Pass anyway (£45/month) and I had some money I wanted to put into savings; and couldn't get a higher savings rate elsewhere. This alone was enough to counteract the cost of the monthly Ultra cost.
Plus, I then realised that my gym membership in the UK (to the gym next to our boat) is a a part of the GymPass subscription (something I had never heard of).
My gym membership each month is £69 (mental, I know) and we travel a lot so the 3 month cancellation policy is ridiculous.
The other things, WeWork, Financial Times, NORDVPN are all added bonuses I can start using too.
So really, I was actually BETTER OFF having the Revolut Ultra subscription than not.
If I was a single guy looking to hook up on Tinder, well then I would be laughing!
Just can't have it all I suppose...
If you’re self-employed or you’re a business owner, then you can also take advantage of Revolut’s business accounts.
We’ve used a Revolut Business plan since 2021, and can 100% recommend it. Not only will you have access to the standard benefits included with personal plans, but you’ll get some added bonuses too.
We are now a part of one of the higher paid plans simply to reduce the cost of our FX fees each month as we receive payments in multiple currencies every month.
There are currently four types of business plans to choose from, and here’s a quick breakdown of each one…
If you’re looking for more information about the business plans that Revolut offers then make sure you check out their account pricing plans!
*They do regularly update and change the fees structure so check carefully before signing up.
There’s a plan suitable for everyone, but it will all depend on how much money you're making, how large your business is, and whether you need to make frequent international payments.
We currently use the Grow plan which starts at £19 per month, and that means we’re entitled to £10K fee-free transfers. Otherwise, the markup on the free plan is 0.6% which could cost you around £60 in conversion fees if you didn’t have this.
There are lots of reasons to upgrade your personal plan to a business plan if you’re self-employed, but one of the main reasons to do so is that you’ll avoid these intermediary fees.
There's also an account called Revolut Pro, which is aimed towards freelancers and those with a side hustle. Although relatively new, it's a great option as there are some awesome benefits. These include:
Another great reason to use Revolut is the number of additional features that are included with their plans, that aren’t banking related!
Here are some of the extra features that you’ll benefit from:
Just keep in mind that some of these features are only available with the paid plans.
Although many people use Revolut at home, there are so many advantages to using it whilst abroad or if you’re traveling for a long period of time.
Offering an efficient foreign currency exchange service, no-fee ATM withdrawals, and no hidden fees when it comes to transfers, Revolut has a lot to offer for us travelers.
Not only will it save you money in banking terms, but you can also benefit from included travel insurance, airport lounge access, and concierge services. However, these features will depend on which plan you choose!
We’ve used Revolut in basically every single country we have traveled to since 2016. Which at the time of first writing this is in excess of 60.
To give you a rough idea of the countries we’ve used Revolut in, here’s a quick breakdown:
Albania / Andorra / Austria / Bosnia & Herzegovina / Bulgaria / Croatia / Czech Republic / Estonia / Finland / France / Germany / Gibraltar / Greece / Ireland / Italy / Kosovo / Latvia / Lithuania / Malta / Monaco / Montenegro / Netherlands / North Macedonia / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Romania / Serbia / Slovenia / Spain / Sweden / UK
Indonesia / Thailand / Cambodia / Vietnam / Laos / Sri Lanka / India / Nepal / The Philippines
Mexico / Canada / USA
Guatemala / Nicaragua / El Salvador / Costa Rica / Panama
Brazil / Argentina / Chile / Bolivia / Peru / Colombia / Uruguay
As with any company, there are always pros and cons. In our opinion, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, but we believe that any review always needs to show the two sides.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of using Revolut…
Before you sign up for any travel card, it’s super important to weigh up the pros and cons yourself rather than just take someone else's opinion.
What works well for someone else, might not always be the best option for you so I’d always recommend doing a bit of research yourself first before signing up.
To give you a more balanced argument and so you don’t just go off our opinions, I’m going to show you what other users think of Revolut.
First of all, what scores have they achieved on app scores?
Now let’s take a look at some of the specific reviews that have been left for Revolut (the good, bad, and the ugly).
The one thing I will say is that by looking at the Apple Store and Google Play, Revolut seems to be very responsive in terms of correcting negative reviews. You’ll often get a response the same day which is always handy!
There are also some negative reviews regarding Revolut's customer service, whereas other people praise their support team.
Signing up for Revolut is extremely easy, as you just need to download the app!
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you just need to enter some basic details like your name, birthday, home address, and email address.
If you’re from the USA, you’ll also need an SSN (social security number) or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number) which is required by law to verify your identity.
The next step is to review and agree to the cardholder agreement and then you’re good to go!
After you’ve signed up you can request your card to be sent out to you, which only takes a few working days if you’re in the UK. If you live elsewhere, then allow 2-3 weeks for it to come.
Not only is the process extremely easy, but it’s free too!
Although many people prefer to have a physical card, Revolut also offers a virtual card.
A virtual card essentially does everything that a physical card does, but you can only use it for online purchases, in-app purchases, or with mobile payment services such as Apple Pay.
Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to withdraw money with a virtual card as there’s no chip and pin. However, it still has a 16-digit card number, an expiry date, and a CVV like any other card, so the principle of use is still the same online!
One of the best things about using a virtual card is the security of it. Although it will be linked to your actual account, the card number will be different.
Not only that but you can use ‘disposable virtual cards’ which ups the security even further for one-off uses. Each time you regenerate one of these, you’ll have a new and unique card number so your actual card details will never be shared.
If you’re signing up for a digital card, you just need to head into the app and go to the ‘get new Revolut card’ option. From there, it will give you the option of a physical or virtual card.
Monzo is a fantastic alternative to Revolut, and it’s one of the stand-out travel cards currently on the market!
With excellent exchange rates, the ability to apply for an overdraft, and compatibility with Apple and Google Pay, this company has a lot to offer.
Monzo also offers plenty of additional features including saving pots, joint accounts, and the ability to sync up your salary!
Another benefit of Monzo is that all their accounts are protected by the FSCS (the Financial Services Compensation Scheme).
In all honesty, we always keep both Monzo and Revolut cards with us. There’s not much difference between the two if you’re only looking to spend money abroad.
Both of them have a £200 withdrawal limit for ATMs and 2-3% surcharge fees beyond that, so having one of each allows you to avoid these charges and withdraw money with both!
If you’re wanting to learn more about Monzo then we’ve written a ‘Monzo Vs Revolut’ article that compares the differences!
Next up is Wise, or TransferWise as it used to be known.
They have plenty of great features that us travelers can benefit from including the fact that you can hold money in 50+ currencies and convert between them for the real exchange rate.
Not only that, but Wise is available in over 60 countries and there’s also a virtual card available.
Although many people travel with Wise, we prefer Revolut. However, if you’ve got a business or you’re self-employed then we’d recommend getting yourself a Wise account too!
They offer some of the lowest conversion fees when it comes to receiving international transfers, especially if you opt for their business account.
Other great features of the Wise business account include the ability to do international invoices, quick payments, and batch payments!
We’ve actually written a Wise Vs Revolut article that summarizes the key differences if you’re interested…
If you’re still looking to shop around then you can always check out Starling Bank.
The great thing about using Starling is that you’ll have access to 24/7 customer support which is covered by FSCS. You can also sign up digitally in minutes so it’s a really easy process.
That being said, Monzo and Revolut are still our favorites and we’ve never been a big fan of Starling Bank.
Everyone’s experience is different, but we found that they don’t offer a lot of additional features and the exchange rate didn’t seem to be as good as other travel cards that we’ve used in the past.
Although, we got a card with them because there was no cap on free monthly withdrawals, which is a huge bonus.
Some people really love Starling Bank so it's all about preference, but I feel like we still lost out on money due to their poorer exchange rates.
To give you a rough idea of what Revolut offers, here’s a quick breakdown of the key differences between the other alternatives in this article.
Each of these platforms has something special to offer, with some of the key highlights being:
Although these are all great platforms, in my opinion, Revolut offers one of the best all-rounded packages (essentially joint with Monzo). So, let’s take a look at why you should choose Revolut…
I’m going to separate this summary into two separate sections; choosing Revolut over traditional banks and other alternatives.
As there are so many mainstream options out there, why should you consider alternative platforms like Revolut?
For starters, Revolut can save you tons of money especially if you’re spending a lot of time abroad. Some of the ways they do this are by constantly updating the interbank exchange rate, offering multi-currency options, and free ATM withdrawals (depending on the amount).
Another reason why so many people choose to use Revolut is that it’s incredibly easy to open an account. This can all be done online or through the app, and the process is still very secure.
Often, you’ll have to go in-store to open an account at traditional banks which can be difficult if you’re always abroad or you simply just don’t have the time.
Revolut is also popular with digital nomads and business owners who spend a lot of time abroad, as their business accounts have a lot to offer.
There are free business accounts available, but some of the paid plans offer better features like free international payments, reward systems, and the ability to hold money in a variety of currencies.
As you can see, there are so many advantages of choosing Revolut over a traditional bank if you’re a keen traveler!
Now, onto the next question…
So, why should you choose Revolut over the other alternatives in this article, or that are currently on the market?
Some of the other platforms like Wise and Starling Bank have plenty to offer, but we’ve found that Revolut takes first place in terms of both travel features and useability.
For starters, their free plan has all the features you need if you’re not looking to spend money. This includes a £200 limit of no-fee ATM withdrawals, international spending, and no-fee currency exchange between Monday-Friday.
However, if you’re looking to pay for a personal plan then Revolut has some of the best features on the market. This includes higher limits for no-fee ATM withdrawals (up to £2,000), 24/7 priority customer support, personalized cards, and daily interest on USD savings.
Choosing Revolut for travel means that you’ll also get access to a variety of awesome features. This includes free travel insurance (including overseas medical insurance), access to airport lounges, and a concierge service.
Just keep in mind that most of these travel-related features are only included with the paid Revolut plans.
Another great thing about using Revolut is that they offer a ‘pay feature’ which we’ve used a few times. This is essential for receiving payments from brands or companies who don’t know how to (or don’t want to) do an international bank transfer!
If you go for Revolut, not only will you be rewarded with better exchange rates and cheaper transfer fees, but you’ll get access to tons of perks.
Of which, cryptocurrency and stock trading I also love. I have used both quite a lot. Though they are probably not currently the most cost-effective route for investing thousands into a portfolio, they are a good way to test out and get started with trading each of these.
The one thing I will say is that Monzo is a fantastic alternative to Revolut. We have an account with each platform and love them both!
They each have their advantages but if you’re not sure which one to go for, then I’d recommend going with Revolut purely for the number of features that they offer.
However, if you’re after more than one travel card which is always a good idea, then why not grab one of each?
Having a card from both Revolut and Monzo allows you to withdraw two lots of money so you can get around the ATM withdrawal limits. This can help you avoid those pesky fees if you’re taking out more than the free allowance.
Not only that but there’s always a risk of you losing a travel card abroad (unfortunately). If you’ve got one of each, and keep them in separate places you’re covered if you need to get money out.
The other great thing about going for two travel cards from different companies is that you won’t know which one will work better for you without trying it yourself…
Banking with Revolut is extremely safe, as they are a trustworthy company and are an FCA-authorized institution.
Your money will be in safe hands if you decide to open a Revolut bank account, as they have strict security measures and procedures in place.
You can open a free Revolut plan and still have access to some of the incredible features that this platform offers. This includes no-fee ATM withdrawals, quick currency conversions, and the ability to receive international payments.
However, there are paid Revolut plans too as these offer a variety of other features!
Every company has downsides and the same goes for Revolut. Compared to other finance platforms out there, it has a lot to offer but there are some cons.
This includes not being able to apply for an overdraft, exchange rates changing during the weekends, and certain services only being available on their paid plans.
You can easily use Revolut as your main bank account especially if you don’t tend to visit a branch and you spend lots of your time abroad.
Just keep in mind that if you’re planning to do this there are a few services that you won’t have access to. This includes overdrafts, cash handling, cheques, and an FSCS deposit guarantee.
We 100% recommend using Revolut over Paypal as you’ll save a lot of money in the long run. This is especially the case if you’re receiving international transfers and converting currencies.
Not only that, but Revolut offers tons of awesome features that you won’t have access to if you purchase and receive money through Paypal.
Choosing a travel card isn’t an easy task, especially as there are so many fantastic options!
Because you’ve got to consider their currency exchange rates, transfer services, ATM fees, and withdrawal limits, choosing one can often feel very overwhelming.
Hopefully, this Revolut card review has given you a good idea of what Revolut has to offer and why it’s such a fantastic option for travelers, digital nomads, and business owners!
The one thing to note is that companies are constantly upgrading their features, so you might find some added features if you do your own research which is always handy.
If you think Revolut is for you, then just check their website first to see if it’s the travel card that’s most suited to you!
If you found this article helpful, then here are some other guides that you may want to read: